Ask LH: How Can I Change Broadband Providers Without Hassle?

Ask LH: How Can I Change Broadband Providers Without Hassle?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m a developer transitioning to working for myself from home, but my Internode ADSL is no longer up to scratch. I used to get 3.5Mpbs, now I’m below 1.5Mbps due to the declining quality of my line which Telstra refuses to fix.

The only way I can get a faster connection is with Telstra cable (no other providers in the area), and in refusing to give them a single cent more than I have to, I’m wanting to keep my ADSL connection with Internode as a backup. However Telstra charge extra for cable if you don’t have the phone line with them ($80 per month) vs if you bundle ($73 per month total). Since I refuse to pay them more just so that they give me less service, I want to transfer my phone line to them, but keep my ADSL with Internode for large background downloads and use my cable for browsing.

I have this feeling, no matter who I talk to on both sides (Internode and Telstra), my ADSL will inevitably get disconnected. How can I ensure Telstra don’t disconnect my Internode ADSL when it makes the switch?

Home office picture from Shutterstock

Thanks In Need Of The NBN


We can very much sympathise with your position, but ultimately it feels as though you’re going about this to prove a point rather than to actually save yourself time and hassle, or for that matter any money.

Equally, while cable can have its definite ups and downs, we can’t quite see why you’d use cable for browsing and ADSL for downloads; the other way around would make more sense.

Ultimately there’s no easy solution to ensure that your ADSL service remains up and running, although you’re certainly entitled to request that through both Telstra and Internode.

We’d suggest that it might make more sense to shift over to Telstra despite your reservations on as short-term a contract as you can wrangle and see if you genuinely do need both services at once. If you do, then shift the ADSL part back to Internode, and you’ve got both services if required.

Ultimately you’re in a position where your work needs for a fast connection are likely to trump your hatred of Telstra. Also, before anyone chips in with the obvious statement: yes, an effectively rolled out and working NBN would solve for this particular problem, but politics has more or less put paid to that particular solution, unfortunately.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Hi INOTN,

    It is entirely possible to have Telstra provide your phone line and Internode provide your ADSL.
    You do need to do your homework.

    1. Check the Telstra Cable + Phone bundle is actually a Cable Internet and PSTN Full Service telephone line. (Not some dodgy voip over cable service – this means there is no impediment to you buying Internode DSL)

    2. Check your Internode DSL Service is delivered via a Telstra DSLAM, or an Internode DSLAM that uses SSS (Spectrum Sharing), not on-net Internode with ULL. – In non-telco language, this means make sure your Internode DSL service is delivered over a PSTN line that you can have billing with another full service carrier.

    3. Ensure you have worked your costs out on Internode’s unbundled DSL rates. They too will by trying to get your full-service PSTN rental and offering discounts for you to bundle.

    As long as all 3 of those points check out, there’s absolutely no problem signing your telephone over to Telstra to get cheap cable.

    Chances are your Internet will drop out when Telstra churn the line from Internode. (It’s not supposed to, but you know… )

    If your Internet does drop out, check if your modem has DSL Sync. (It won’t). Plug a phone in and check you have dial-tone (you will). Raise a “no sync” fault _with Internode_, and tell them what happened. They will raise a fault with their Infrastructure provider (ie. Telstra) to have the ADSL codes put back on the line.

    See, it’s as easy as 1,2,3! 😉

  • Why on earth would you pay for Cable and ADSL at the same time, especially an ADSL service that can only connect at 3mbs?

    • It was alluded to in the question – Speed vs Volume – a 3Mbit/s ADSL connection on an unlimited Internet plan can download 780GB in a month.

      A Telstra 50GB Cable plan can get 50GB in a day… then 64kbit/s for the rest of the month.

      I signed up for Telstra cable years ago… all I got was a 3GB cap.

      • Why not just get a bigger data cap on the cable? You’ll be spending god know how much to maintain an ADSL connection and phone line anyway, just upgrade that instead, yo’ll probably save money! Looking at Internode’s pricing, I can’t see how it would be beneficial to keep that ADSL connection and a Cable connection, for any reason.

        • Actually @moonhead you’re spot on.

          When Telstra have a unbundled 500GB plan for $119.95, and the price you pay for your cheapest cable plan is $59.95, that’s a $60 surcharge to get 500GB.

          Now, I’m sure you can find an unlimited ADSL provider for $60 per month or less, (plus the telstra line rental) – and if you could get 24MB/s then it’d be worth it (It’s not hard to crack 1TB/mth download on a ADSL2+…. but don’t expect to be with the ISP for long before they “acceptable use” you off their service) – but at 3MB/s … Seriously, why bother?

          If you were running a business, I’d say “sure, it gives extra redundancy, if the cable goes down you can keep running on your ADSL”. But for home, It’s another device, another contract, another monthly bill… and another frustratingly slow Internet connection.

          I’m with you @moonhead. Buy the Telstra Cable 500GB Plan, churn your line, and cancel your internode service after the Cable is connected & tested.

  • I’d suggest you get Telstra Naked Cable, and keep your ADSL and phone line entirely separate from Tesltra. I know, I know – it’s not listed on their website. Trust me – it exists, they just don’t want you to know about it. I have it right now, here’s the details:

    You have to use their online “text an operator” or call them up on the phone. I’d suggest you use the text option, because at some point in the process they’ll call you back because the text operators aren’t able to do the whole malarky, and this way you’re not paying for the tedious phone call. Next, you have to convince the text operator that you’ve been invited to take up Naked Cable by some promotion. Just say you received an email about it a while ago, but didn’t want to take them up on the offer until now. Just say you can’t find this email any more. Eventually you’ll get through to a phone operator who’ll have to talk to their supervisor, but ultimately you’ll get what you want. You can ask for DOCIS3.0 too for another $20/month.

    Unfortunately, as part of their continual attempts to keep people on phone lines so they can inflate the reported numbers of Australians who “need” a phone line, they’ll only let you have a max of 80GB per month, at an extortionate price. Meh. Who needs competition anyway?

  • You hate Telstra, yet they provide the best residential internet service. Good luck with that. I always find irrational hatred of corporations highly amusing.

  • Cost analysis time, is working from home a permanent or temporary thing ? What is the time vs money cost for you lagging / slow downloads ie time lost per day = $$$. How will the time lose effect customers / service you provide ???

    If its not significant, do your best with what you can have and what ever advice you recieve in the comments.

    If it is a significant factor, and not just belly aching. Then decide if working from home is the best solution, you can find a small office in a better location (their are rental office spaces that do single desk/small office arrangements in major cities).

    If your current home location is not appropriate for your work, and your work is that important to your future and your not sentimentally attached to your house… not to sound like Malcolm Turnball, MOVE!!! Especially if you can find a place that has fibre, or will get fibre / NBN

  • if you are thinking to have a cable and ADSL connection, for backup, then you should be thinking at moving to a business plan.
    for most home offices, a normal residential connection will be fine, and even have minimal downtime.

    when i was working for a business, the owner had an unlimited plan at home (he was kinda rich, but stingy).
    we ran offsite backups to his house, in the 13 or so months i worked there, the link only went down once, that was when there was a blackout

  • Hi INOTN,

    Not sure if your real question was answered so I’ll answer and hope this helps 🙂

    When churning/porting a line from one service provider to another, there is a VERY good chance that the ADSL will drop. There are ways to avoid or at least minimise the risk, but that’s another post.

    From what you’re saying, it seems your main concern is not to have a downtime.

    Therefore, my suggestion would be switch on Telstra cable and only after it’s up and running, bundle it with your line (which, yes, might cause the ADSL to drop but you’ll have the cable working for you) and then see what happens. If the ADSL drops, Internode will re-activate it (some downtime may occour but cable should still work). If ADSL doesn’t drop, even better 🙂

    Hope this helps? 🙂

    Wishing you a great day and a successful porting!

  • It’s really hard to avoid the “downtime” when you churn your services to any provider. What you can do is get a naked ADSL without any contract. Once activated, you may cancel your current service. You can always request for a bundle deal with your provider for ADSL and home phone. Let’s hope that NBN Services will be available in your area so you can improve your Internet speed with high allowance and more affordable rate.

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